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September 10, 2022

Beautiful Kodachrome Slides of YMCA Summer Camps in the 1950s

In the 1870s and 1880s, the first summer camps promised boys a chance to escape increasingly urban modern life. Roughing it would build character, and, as one early camp founder put it, save humanity from “dying of indoor-ness.”

Summer camps flourished in the years that followed. In 1900 there were fewer than one hundred camps in the country. By 1918, there were more than 1,000. But as camps became more popular, their commitment to “natural” living faltered. Camps began to feature movies, radio, and tennis lessons.

There were outdoor activities such as canoeing, archery, and hiking. Other types of popular instruction involved handcrafts, dramatics, camp and fire-making. Campers slept in wigwams, tents, or open dormitories. Any of these options encouraged a camper to take responsibility for maintaining her own personal space and to develop self-sufficiency.

A series of found Kodachrome slides from Steven Martin that were taken at YMCA Camp Arthur G. Hough, on the shores of Silver Lake in New York in 1957 and 1958. The camp still exists and is labeled on Google Earth.

Note on slide reads "Director's Wife, Assistant Director's Wife. Aug. '57"

Note on slide reads "Bathing Beauties. Aug. '57"

Note on slide reads "Bathing Beauties. Aug. '57"

Note on slide reads "Bathing beauty winners 'Y Camp'. Silver Lake, Aug. '57"

Note on slide reads "Bathing beauty winners 'Y Camp'. Silver Lake, Aug. '57"

Note on slide reads "Counselors Y Camp. Aug. '57"

Note on slide reads "Enid, Dean, Lenore and Karen. Aug. '57"

Note on slide reads "Bathing Beauties", August 1958

Note on slide reads "L to R- Sally Minor, Judy Sprague, Joan Postlewait, Muriel Tabor, Linda Buhl, Elaine Osborn, Counselors", August 1958

Note on slide reads "Joe & Eunie (Eunie's sign)", August 1958




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